I bring poetry into the community and the community into poetry through a variety of projects. My initial understanding of public art was to write and perform poems for communities in response to current events.
In 2014 I was one of 14 artists selected by East End Arts in Riverhead for the JumpsART Program, being offered for the first time. JumpstART is a professional development program helping artists develop entrepreneurial skills, while providing an opportunity for creative placemaking—artists bringing vitality to Riverhead’s downtown area by creating public arts projects.
Poetry Street was my project, started in June 2014 and still on-going. Poetry Street has become known for its welcoming vibe. The hosts of two new sober open mics in Suffolk County have acknowledged Poetry Street as their inspiration.
I have also taken Poetry Street on the road into community events, as a way of supporting multi-cultural diversity through open-mic readings.
In 2015 I served as a mentor for the next group of JumpstART artists. I was chosen to represent JumpsART by speaking at local conferences promoting alliances between artists and the business community. I continue to offer coaching to artists, fostering partnerships between artists, businesses and communities.
Public Arts brings together the practices of well-being and self-expression with community development and social justice— a newly prepared field where collaborations now in conversations can come to fruition.
I continue to combine social work and poetry, bringing the promise of well-being and self-expression to all people.